Principal claims it could have been tiff between two groups

In what gives a completely different picture of the July 26 ragging involving L S Raheja College of Arts students on a Bandra-Churchgate local,the principal of the college has claimed that it may just have been a tiff between two groups of students’.

Written by Dipti Sonawala | Published:August 9, 2012 4:06 am

In what gives a completely different picture of the July 26 ragging involving L S Raheja College of Arts students on a Bandra-Churchgate local,the principal of the college has claimed that it may just have been a tiff between two groups of students’. But the junior students complaint,which termed the incident as ragging,prompted the college to conduct an inquiry.

On July 26,a group of 11 junior students,including five girls of Raheja’s third-year commercial arts diploma course,took the 7.22 pm Churchgate bound train from Bandra.

Five senior students of the same college of fourth year applied arts diploma course got into the same bogie. The junior students alleged they were beaten up by the seniors.

The next day,the entire third-year batch of commercial arts diploma approached the Government Railway Police (GRP) station at Bandra and filed a non-cognisable report demanding action against their seniors.

“This particular group has been harassing us for the past three years. Bullying junior students and beating them up in the college campus or canteen had become a routine for them. On July 26,they beat us up and humiliated the girl students in the train. That is when we decided to approach the police,” said a victim.

The college conducted an inquiry from July 29 and heard the students out in the presence of GRP officers. Following the hearing,the college suspended the five senior students.

L S Raheja principal Shridhar Badhekar said,“This may be a tiff between the two groups of students. However,since the junior students in their complaint mentioned “ragging”,we had to conduct an inquiry accordingly.

On the day of the hearing,we had summoned the five (senior) students. But they failed to appear before the committee and so they were named guilty in the incident.”

The college suspended the five students on Monday. It has also submitted a report to the GRP.

“Now we also have to submit a report of this incident to the Directorate of Art as per the rule,” Badhekar said.

The suspension of the five students has prompted their friends to remain absent from classes as a mark of protest.

Seventy students of the fourth-year applied arts diploma did not attend their classes on Wednesday.

A few of them have alleged that their friends were framed in the case.

“The incident was nothing more than a quarrel between two groups of college students and not ragging. However,the other group approached the police and claimed to be victims of ragging,which is not true. The committee set up by the college too did not give a fair hearing to the five students before penalising them,” said one of the students of the fourth-year batch.

“We have registered a non-cognisable offence under Sections 4 and 6 of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act. The offence is bailable and trial will be conducted before a first-class magistrate. We have to obtain permission from the court to conduct investigation and then submit our findings to the court. We will get the permission by Thursday and will within a month submit our report,” said V Dhopaokar,senior Inspector of Bandra GRP.

“Their parents had met us on Tuesday,saying their children are innocent. We won’t arrest the offenders unless we feel the need to during the course of investigation. They are anyway suspended by the college till the probe is on,” he further said.

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